Con wedding planners on the rise, leaving brides without their perfect wedding and thousands out of pocket
Due to increasing wedding costs, more and more couples are looking for a cheaper alternative to create their dream wedding, however hopeful brides are now turning up to their wedding to find a reception that was nothing like the one they had dreamed of. This was the reality for devastated brides Cher-Victoria Austin, Becky Copsey and Kelly Dickens.
Cher, 32 had surprisingly found her wedding reception in Manchester looking nothing like the one she had planned and paid for. Her venue dresser Michelle Hargreaves, 51, who owns company Forever Occasions left her reception looking less than perfect, only providing two chair ribbons and cheap table toppings. Cher believes she has fallen for a scam, leaving her and her husband Robert £330 out of pocket but they are not the only newlyweds who feel this way.
Another victim of Hargreaves scam is Becky Copsey, 38 a nurse from Kent and her war veteran husband Rob, 46 who were left devastated when Michelle failed to turn up. Becky hired Michelle to decorate her wedding reception venue for Â£247 and states that Michelle claimed that her assistant was unable to fulfil her duties due to her daughter being rushed to hospital with an epileptic fit, however this was revealed to be all lies. Becky and Rob’s friends and family were forced to take it upon themselves to decorate the reception with flowers, balloons and ribbons from a local supermarket.
Becky made a complaint to Michelle but did not receive a refund and it has since been revealed that during that time Michelle was on holiday in Greece. In speaking to The Sun, Becky states Michelle was such a convincing liar; she strung me along from the beginning. It was my wedding day, it should have been the happiest day of my life but instead I was in floods of tears.
In 2014 Michelle was jailed for 12 months for stealing over £15K from Asda after making 18 fraudulent transactions over the course of 4 months and now over 20 couples have further fallen for Michelle’s tricks. Her company Forever Occasions which boasts that it will create dreams and create forever memories for you, your friends and your family has now gone bust leading to couples hundreds if not thousands of pounds out of pocket. Hargreaves was contacted by The Mail on Sunday and commented “Apart from the fact my company has gone bankrupt, there is not a lot I can say.”
Forever Occasions is not the only company misleading couples, JLS Entertainment charges up to Â£1,500 for its services in wedding catering, decoration and DJ services. Ran by Jason Lee Davidson, JLS Entertainment has upset many newlyweds with his appalling services. A Facebook page has been set up to connect couples that have fallen victim to his tricks; some claim Davidson did not show up, many claim the catering services are a joke and some ordered a full buffet for 150 but were left with plates of Asda custard cream biscuits and doughnuts still in the packaging.
Kelly Dickens, 33 from Nottingham hired JSL Entertainment for a hot and cold buffet, room decoration and a DJ for £1,000. She states that Davidson turned up an hour late, stinking of alcohol, and claimed the decorations were on their way. The food was cold because his hot plate wasn’t working so no one could eat it. Dickens further revealed that Davidson provided Asda Coleslaw still in its packaging, forcing guests to eat at McDonald’s, leaving Kelly in floods of tears.
Davidson’s company is now closed and has since denied any wrongdoing, he states â€˜every business has a bad day and every business has a bad function. I’ve had to close my business because of these vile people.
Experts are stating that couples are falling prey to wedding con artists and that in the past six months more than 600 wedding related frauds from venues, photographers, dresses to catering are reported to the police. The National Fraud Intelligence claim that cases of wedding fraud has doubled since last Christmas and Chris Felton, a Detective inspector states â€˜we urge people to thoroughly research their providers and to pay by credit card for extra protection.